"It's a happening. It's a great place to be, especially for that race," said track fan Roni Mason.
Fans are gearing up for Saratoga's supreme event. The 137th running of the Travers Stakes is Saturday. The post positions were set Wednesday for the 7-horse field. NYRA's Bill Nader said big horses headline the Mid-Summer Derby.
"Bernardini, who is the top three-year-old in the nation, maybe top in the nation, and Blue Grass Cat, who is the new archrival of Bernardini, they will really battle it out," said Nader.
NYRA said high-level handle is a Travers Day tradition. The on-track handle record was set last year, over $9 million in the till.
"Everyone is going with Bernardini, but I am going to go with the Cat. He's certainly worth it in the exacta, but I am going to play him to win," said Saratoga season ticket holder Sandy Levin.
People pack the oldest race course in the North America for the oldest stakes race in the country. This year the New York Lottery sponsors the race, but not everyone is pressing their luck by showing up.
"I'll probably bet it ahead of time at OTB. The parking is cheaper, you can get in and out. You don't have to wait around," said Dave Kolodziej.
Even so, NYRA expects over 40,000 people through the gates. Post time is 12:30 p.m., but the first race of the day is for the picnic tables. It starts when the gate open up at 7 a.m.